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      How To Set Up Time Synchronization on Ubuntu 20.04


      Accurate timekeeping is integral to modern software deployments. Without it, you may encounter data corruption, errors, and other issues that are difficult to debug. Time synchronization can help ensure your logs are being recorded in the correct order, and that database updates are appropriately applied.

      Fortunately, Ubuntu 20.04 has time synchronization built-in and activated by default using systemd’s timesyncd service. In this article, you will practice some general time-related commands, verify that timesyncd is active, and install an alternate network time service.


      Before starting this tutorial, you will need an Ubuntu 20.04 server with a non-root, sudo-enabled user and a firewall, as described in this Ubuntu 20.04 server setup tutorial.

      To view the time on your server, you will use the command date. Any user can run this command to print out the date and time:

      Typically, your server will generate an output with the default UTC time zone.


      Thu Aug 5 15:55:20 UTC 2021

      UTC is Coordinated Universal Time, the time at zero degrees longitude. While this may not reflect your current time zone, using Universal Time prevents confusion when your infrastructure spans multiple time zones.

      If you want to change your time zone, however, you can use the timedatectl command.

      First, run this command to generate a list of available time zones:

      • timedatectl list-timezones

      A list of time zones will print to your screen. You can press SPACE to page down, and b to page up. Once you find the correct time zone, make note of it then type q to exit the list.

      Next, you can set the time zone with timedatectl set-timezone by replacing the highlighted portion with the time zone you found in the list. You’ll need to use sudo with timedatectl to make this change:

      • sudo timedatectl set-timezone America/New_York

      You can verify your changes by running date again:


      Thu Aug 5 11:56:01 EDT 2021

      The time zone abbreviation will reflect the newly chosen value.

      Now that you’ve practiced checking the clock and setting time zones, you can confirm that your time is being synchronized properly in the next section.

      Controlling timesyncd with timedatectl

      Previously, most network time synchronization was handled by the Network Time Protocol daemon or ntpd. This service connects to a pool of other NTP servers that provide it with constant and accurate time updates.

      But now with Ubuntu’s default install, you can use timesyncd instead of ntpd. timesyncd works similarly by connecting to the same time servers, but is llightweight and more closely integrated with systemd on Ubuntu.

      You can query the status of timesyncd by running timedatectl with no arguments. You don’t need to use sudo in this case:


      Local time: Thu 2021-08-05 11:56:40 EDT Universal time: Thu 2021-08-05 15:56:40 UTC RTC time: Thu 2021-08-05 15:56:41 Time zone: America/New_York (EDT, -0400) System clock synchronized: yes NTP service: active RTC in local TZ: no

      This command prints out the local time, universal time (which may be the same as local time, if you didn’t switch from the UTC time zone), and some network time status information. System clock synchronized: yes reflects that the time is successfully synced, and NTP service: active means that timesyncd is up and running.

      If your output shows that NTP service isn’t active, turn it on with timedatectl:

      • sudo timedatectl set-ntp on

      After this, run timedatectl again to confirm the network time status. It may take a minute for the sync to happen, but eventually System clock synchronized: will read yes and NTP service: will show as active.

      Switching to ntpd

      timesyncd will work in most circumstances. There are instances, however, when an application may be sensitive to any disturbance with time. In this case, ntpd is an alternative network time service you can use. ntpd uses sophisticated techniques to constantly and gradually keep the system time on track.

      Before installing ntpd, you need to turn off timesyncd in order to prevent the two services from conflicting with one another. You can do this by disabling network time synchronization with the following command:

      • sudo timedatectl set-ntp no

      Verify that time synchronization is disabled:

      Check that your output reads NTP service: inactive. This means timesyncd has stopped. Now you’re ready to install the ntp package with apt.

      First, run apt update to refresh your local package index:

      Then, run apt install ntp to install this package:

      ntpd will begin automatically after your installation completes. You can verify that everything is working correctly by querying ntpd for status information:


      remote refid st t when poll reach delay offset jitter ============================================================================== 0.ubuntu.pool.n .POOL. 16 p - 64 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 1.ubuntu.pool.n .POOL. 16 p - 64 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 2.ubuntu.pool.n .POOL. 16 p - 64 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 3.ubuntu.pool.n .POOL. 16 p - 64 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 .POOL. 16 p - 64 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 +t1.time.bf1.yah 2 u 16 64 1 61.766 -20.068 1.964 +puppet.kenyonra 3 u 16 64 1 2.622 -18.407 2.407 * .GPS. 1 u 15 64 1 50.303 -17.499 2.708 +time.cloudflare 3 u 15 64 1 1.488 -18.295 2.670 2 u 15 64 1 21.527 -18.377 2.414 +ipv4.ntp1.rbaum 2 u 12 64 1 49.741 -17.897 3.417 +time.cloudflare 3 u 15 64 1 1.039 -16.692 3.378 + 2 u 14 64 1 70.060 -16.993 3.363 +ny-time.gofile. 2 u 21 64 1 75.349 -18.333 2.763 golem.canonical 2 u 28 64 1 134.482 -21.655 0.000 ntp3.junkemailf 2 u 19 64 1 2.632 -16.330 4.387 clock.xmission. .XMIS. 1 u 18 64 1 24.927 -16.712 3.415 alphyn.canonica 2 u 26 64 1 73.612 -19.371 0.000 strongbad.voice 2 u 17 64 1 70.766 -18.159 3.481 chilipepper.can 2 u 25 64 1 134.982 -19.848 0.000 pugot.canonical 2 u 28 64 1 135.694 -21.075 0.000

      ntpq is a query tool for ntpd. The -p flag requests information about the NTP servers (or peers) ntpd is connected to. Your output will be slightly different but will list the default Ubuntu pool servers plus a few others. Remember, it can take a few minutes for ntpd to establish connections.


      In this article, you’ve successfully viewed the system time, changed time zones, worked with Ubuntu’s default timesyncd service, and installed ntpd. If you have advanced timekeeping needs, you can reference the official NTP documentation, and also take a look at the NTP Pool Project, a global group of volunteers providing much of the world’s NTP infrastructure.

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      How to Fix Fatal Error: Maximum Execution Time Exceeded in WordPress (6 Methods)

      Updating your plugins and themes regularly is necessary to keep your site running at full capacity. However, the fatal WordPress error “maximum execution time exceeded” can prevent updates and leave you feeling concerned about your website’s performance.

      Fortunately, you can use a few methods to remove the error or increase the maximum execution time: You can uninstall the problem software, use a plugin, or edit your site’s code directly to solve the issue in no time.

      In this article, we’ll look at what the WordPress maximum execution time error is and why it happens. Then we’ll walk you through six methods you can use to solve the problem and keep your site running smoothly:

      1. Uninstall problem software
      2. Use a plugin
      3. Adjust the wp-config.php file
      4. Update the php.ini file
      5. Edit the .htaccess file
      6. Contact your hosting provider

      Let’s get started!

      What the WordPress Max Execution Time Error Is (And Why It Happens)

      The maximum execution time error is one of the most common WordPress errors. It can appear when you are trying to update your WordPress plugins or themes.

      The maximum execution time exceeded error in WordPress.

      It alerts you that your site was unable to perform the updates you requested.

      This error happens because of the PHP scripts on your website. PHP is a scripting language that is the foundation of WordPress sites. It is made up of code that controls how the website functions and shows different elements to users. As such, the maximum execution error directly relates to how long a PHP script takes to run.

      PHP scripts have a maximum execution time to keep your site functional and secure. For example, if there were no limit, a hacker or malicious software could use neverending scripts to dismantle your website’s server and make your data vulnerable. Furthermore, PHP scripts running for a long time can divert resources from your server.

      Plugins are more likely to trigger the error because they come with a lot of code from external sources. WordPress is an open-source platform, so any developer can design and upload plugins for it. If you install content from lesser-known developers, it may come with flawed code and cause issues in your site’s PHP scripts.

      Themes and general WordPress updates can also cause the problem. However, this is less common.

      What the Standard Max Execution Time Is

      At DreamHost, we set the maximum execution time on our end. As with most other hosting providers, it usually has a duration of 30 seconds. This is typically enough time for most PHP scripts to run successfully. If you’re using a different hosting provider, you should be able to contact them directly to find out what your site’s maximum execution time is.

      However, large websites with multiple resources may need slightly longer maximum execution times. Otherwise, they may not be able to complete their processes before the clock runs out.

      Additionally, some developers may use very long execution times of more than 300 seconds. However, we don’t recommend this for most websites because of the security issues that we discussed previously.

      How to Figure Out if the Error Has Occurred

      It is usually obvious that the maximum execution time error has happened because you will see a notification in your WordPress dashboard.

      But it may not always have the same wording. For example, it may read as “fatal error” or ‘critical error.” The notification also might not reference the maximum execution time. However, all of the warnings share similar components that can alert you to the source of the problem.

      Front-end users may also be able to see the error. If they visit the site when the update process has failed, they might see a message telling them that your website is experiencing technical difficulties.

      Wikipedia experiencing technical difficulties.

      However, this error message doesn’t only appear because your maximum execution time has been exceeded. As such, you’ll want to check and see if it shows up in your WordPress dashboard as well.

      Finally, you may receive an email from WordPress alerting you that the maximum execution time has been exceeded. This happens because of the WordPress 5.2 update, which introduced PHP error protection that automatically notifies you when your site has problems with its themes or plugins. As such, you will almost immediately know that there is an issue with your updates.

      Skip the Stress

      Avoid troubleshooting when you sign up for DreamPress. Our friendly WordPress experts are available 24/7 to help solve website problems — big or small.

      How to Fix the Max Execution Time WordPress Error (6 Methods)

      There are a few different methods you can use to eliminate the max execution time error or increase your site’s maximum execution time.

      You may first want to consider your comfort level with directly editing your site’s files and adding new code. If this method sounds beyond your technical abilities, there are fortunately other options available.

      1. Uninstall the Problem Software

      One of the simplest ways to fix the maximum execution time error is to uninstall the software causing the issue. One of your plugins or your site’s theme is likely the culprit, so you can start there.

      We recommend using this method if you have a hunch that a specific application is causing the problem. For example, you may have recently added a new plugin or updated an old one.

      If the error locks you out of your site, you can access the dashboard via Recovery Mode. If you received an email from WordPress about the failed updates, it usually includes a link to Recovery Mode and may even tell you which plugin caused the problem.

      Then, navigate to Plugins > Installed Plugins and click on Deactivate underneath the relevant item. Click on Delete to remove it.

      If you don’t know what is causing the maximum execution time exceeded error, you can deactivate all of your plugins and reactivate them one by one. Refresh each time and see if you can find the one that triggered the problem.

      You can use Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) to remove the plugin. Alternatively, if you have a fully hosted DreamHost account, you can do it with your control panel file manager.

      Navigate to Websites > Manage Websites, and hover over the preview above your domain name. Then click on Manage.

      How to manage websites on DreamHost.

      Scroll down and select Manage Files.

      How to reach the file manager on DreamHost.

      Then navigate to your website’s directory folder. Enter the Plugins folder, right-click on the plugin you want to remove, and select Delete.

      Deleting a plugin using the DreamHost file manager.

      Hopefully, this will resolve the error. If not, you can move on to the following methods.

      2. Use the WP Maximum Execution Time Exceeded Plugin

      One of the easiest ways to increase the maximum execution time is by using the WP Maximum Execution Time Exceeded plugin.

      The WP Maximum Execution Time Exceeded plugin home page.

      This tool enables you to increase the maximum execution time to 300 seconds (five minutes) while you have it activated.

      You may prefer to use this instead of the previous method because it can increase your maximum execution time globally. This can be beneficial if you want to give functional plugins and themes a little more time to complete their updates.

      To use the plugin, you can download the .zip file and head to your WordPress dashboard. Navigate to Plugins > Add New and click on Upload File > Choose File.

      Adding a new plugin on the WordPress dashboard.

      Click on Install Now. Once the plugin is installed, select Activate Plugin to complete the process.

      The plugin automatically increases your site’s maximum execution time right away, so you don’t need to do anything else. If you ever want to remove it and revert to the original settings, you can head to Plugins > Installed Plugins and click on Deactivate.

      How to deactivate the WP Maximum Execution Time Exceeded plugin.

      This is a straightforward fix for the maximum execution time exceeded error. However, it does not enable you to choose a custom duration. If that’s something you’re looking for, you may prefer to use one of the following more intensive methods.

      3. Increase the Maximum Execution Time via wp-config.php

      You can increase the maximum execution time in your site’s wp.config.php file. This is a core file that contains a lot of important information about your site. For example, it has your website’s name, host name, login username, and password.

      We recommend this method if you want to customize your maximum execution time. It enables you to add code directly into your WordPress directory file. Furthermore, it’s relatively quick and easy to do.

      Before you start editing the file, we recommend backing up your entire WordPress site. The wp-config.php file is essential for your website, so you don’t want to make a critical and irreversible mistake. With a backup on file, you can revert to your original settings with minimal effort.

      You can find the file by using the DreamPress file manager or your SFTP application and looking for wp-config.php. Right-click on it and select Edit.

      How to edit the wp-config.php file in the DreamHost file manager.

      Alternatively, you can click on Download and edit the file with a simple text editor like Notepad. Once you’re in the wp-config.php file, scroll to the bottom and insert the following code:


      “X” represents the maximum execution time in seconds. For example, you can replace it with “300”, and it will extend the duration to five minutes.

      Now you can save the file, and you’ve successfully changed the maximum execution time!

      4. Increase the Maximum Execution Time in php.ini

      You can also increase the maximum execution time by creating a new php.ini file. This is a document that controls your PHP settings, such as resource limits, upload sizes, and file timeouts.

      This method can be an excellent option if you use a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress. php.ini affects all the scripts in your system, so you won’t have to edit each one individually.

      Not all servers support php.ini files, so you’ll need to check first to make sure yours does. Then you can increase the PHP execution time with this method.

      In the DreamHost server, php.ini files are called phprc. First, you’ll need to create a new phprc file. Go to your SFTP dashboard and navigate to your user directory.

      Locate the phprc file in your site’s version of PHP. Then right-click on it and select View/Edit to add your new code. You may see this warning.

      A warning message in FileZilla.

      Click on the check box next to Always use selection for all unassociated files and select OK. This will open the file with your text editor. Next, you can enter the following code to change the maximum execution time:

      max_execution_time = 500

      This will change the max execution time to 500 seconds. Then you need to kill the existing PHP processes to update the phprc file and make the changes take effect.

      5. Increase the Maximum Execution Time in .htaccess

      The .htaccess file is another place where you can adjust the maximum execution time. This file controls changes across the different directories of your WordPress site. However, not all servers use it, and it is most commonly found in Apache servers.

      You may prefer to use this method if you don’t want to play around with the wp-config.php file and if your server doesn’t support php.ini files.

      Before starting, we recommend backing up your .htaccess file. By doing so, you can reinstate it if you make any major mistakes. Simply make a copy of it and save it elsewhere on your computer.

      Then use your chosen SFTP to edit the original .htaccess file. If you’re using the DreamHost file manager, you can right-click on it and select Edit.

      How to edit the .htaccess file with DreamHost.

      Otherwise, you can open it with your text editor. Then enter this code to change the maximum execution time:

      php_value max_execution_time 300

      You can substitute the “300” for any other amount you prefer. Finally, save the changes, and the file will apply them to your site.

      6. Contact Your Hosting Provider to Request an Increase in Maximum Execution Time

      If you would prefer not to change your site’s files yourself, you have another option. You can contact your hosting provider directly, and they can increase the maximum execution time on your behalf.

      This method could be an excellent option if you’re short on time or have limited technical skills. However, it may cost extra depending on your hosting provider.

      With a DreamHost account, you can contact our Professional Services team to make these changes for you. Navigate to the Contact Support page in your account dashboard and submit a ticket.

      How to contact the DreamHost support team.

      There, you can outline your desired changes and add any details about your site. Our team may ask for more details, and then we’ll get to work on making the changes!

      Bonus WordPress Error Articles

      Need to resolve other technical issues on your website? We’ve got you covered! Our team has put together several guides to help you troubleshoot the most common WordPress errors:

      And if you’d like a soup-to-nuts walkthrough on running a successful WordPress site, be sure to check out our WordPress Tutorials. It’s a collection of 42 guides written by our WordPress experts that’ll help you navigate the WordPress dashboard like a pro.

      Take Your WordPress Website to the Next Level

      Whether you need help navigating the WordPress dashboard, fixing incorrect database credentials, or choosing a web host, we can help! Subscribe to our monthly digest so you never miss an article.

      Fixing the Fatal Error: Maximum Execution Time Exceeded

      The maximum execution time exceeded error in WordPress can get in the way of updating your plugins and themes. Although it can be frustrating when it happens, there are several ways to solve the problem quickly.

      You can fix the maximum execution time WordPress error with the following strategies:

      1. Uninstall the problem item.
      2. Increase the maximum execution time with a plugin like WP Maximum Execution Time Exceeded.
      3. Adjust the maximum execution time by editing the wp-config.php file.
      4. Increase the maximum execution time in the php.ini file.
      5. Edit the .htaccess file to increase the maximum execution time.
      6. Contact your hosting provider to change the file on your behalf.

      Are you looking for a hosting provider that can take care of all your site’s technical issues? Check out our DreamPress packages and leave the troubleshooting to the experts!

      Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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      Happiness First: Ways to Develop Products in Record Time


      About the Talk

      This talk helps startups stay away from over-engineering in the early stages of their projects by describing methods for keeping both people and businesses happy.


      • Slides

      About the Presenter

      Nikita Savrov is a proud father, bad skater, and a developer with a passion for business and product development. After ten years in tech, he is still in love with Ruby.

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